Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Support Group

Atrial fibrillation (AF or afib) is an abnormal heart rhythm (cardiac arrhythmia) which involves the two small, upper heart chambers (the atria). Heart beats in a normal heart begin after electricity generated in the atria by the sinoatrial node spread through the heart and cause contraction of the heart muscle and pumping of blood.

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Coumadin or Aspirin?

Hi all,
I am new to this group and am trying to find a better way to manage my A Fib. I have had paroxsymal A Fib for 3 years. At first it would happen once every 4-6 months. My internist and cardiologist both agreed that I did not need to take coumadin. I have a CHADS score of 1.
I have been taking 325mg of aspirin daily. The episodes have gradually increased in frequency and now it seems to happen weekly. I am worrying more about my stroke risk at this point. What do you all think? Are most of you taking coumadin? Is there a time frame for when a stroke is most likely to occur? After an hour in A Fib, after 8 hours???
I will be going back to my internist soon and plan to get a referral to an EP. Right now I take Toprol daily, and cardizem and ativan at the start of an episode. The cardizem seems to help, (and the ativan keeps me from losing my mind) and I usually convert to NSR in 3-6 hours. But now I am losing 1 day a week to this beast and I'm hoping that other meds or ablation may be more helpful. Thanks, so glad I found this group.

Replies

RuthCR
RuthCR

Personally I would find episodes one day a unacceptable for a reasonable quality of life. I was objecting to one day a month! My specialist would probably want me on Warfarin (Coumadin) if was having as many episodes as you. However, I have had A-Fib for 20 years and some Atrial Flutter with very fast pulse rates for up to 10 hours but on an average 3-4 hrs. I haven't had a stroke but then again my heart is very healthy otherwise. I am reluctant to take Warfin as yet as I do have trouble with side effects and I can't be bothered doing it as yet. I may not have a choice later in my 70's but I am hoping to stay stable with my current meds. I feel fantastic at the moment (particularly with a CPAP machine used for 10 months). This has only happened with trial and error with meds over the years and now I have struck the right formula for now. Keep up the search, it would be great if your quality of life improved more than this. Keep un in touch with your treatment etc. Best wishes, Ruth
marikay234
marikay234

Thanks for the feedback Ruth. How often do you have an episode? Have you had an ablation?
Weekly episodes only started happening in December, and I thought maybe it was because of the Holidays, extra stress, eating things I know might trigger it (chocolate-sugar). I'm still not sure if that is the case. But if this continues, I agree it is interfering with my life too much. I try hard not to let it rule my life. So I am keeping a careful record and trying to avoid any triggers until I see my Dr. I think I am leaning toward coumadin at this point. As troublesome as A Fib is, a stroke would be much worse.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Better safe than sorry. I'm on Warfarin and it has no side effects at all whereas asprin really tore up my stomach. I feel much safer with Coumadin (Warfarin). My AFib never stops so I'm really at risk for a blood clot. Metoprolol has got my heart beat at 60 but I'm always in AFib. I'm lucky I don't feel it. I take beta blockers and Cozaar so that helps too.
NYNM
NYNM

Since my CHADS score was also 1, my cardiologist also recommended aspirin only. But then other MD's disagreed, taking a more aggressive approach. With a CHADS of 1, it is possible, but maybe you want to talk with your MD to be sure. Coumadin is a pain but provides more protection against blood clots/stroke. It's basically gambling and what you feel OK about. But daily afib (yes the holidays may contribute) also means its pretty active. So much of medical care is based on cost/benefit and statistical probability, so its usually a "gamble" with care.
deleted_user
deleted_user

HI, I have had two EPs tell me that Asprin would be fine for me as I have a healthy heart and am in my 50s. They said that they don't like to use Coumadin unless there are other problems or your over 65. Coumadin has many side effects and require blood tests. I am taking 325 mg of Asprin a day. I have had A-Fib for 30 years. It started in my twenties. I have about 2 episodes a month...I am on Norpace CR and Toprol XL twice a day. I hate the A Fib episodes and have wondered if an Ablation would help me. I read on this site that so many people have Ablations and they still have A Fib so what's the use of getting an Ablation? Good luck and your EP should be able to give you some good advise. Take care..
deleted_user
deleted_user

Is anyone taking Dabigatran.

I took this piece of info from a study.

"Dabigatran 150 mg twice daily was superior to warfarin in efficacy (thromboembolism prevention) and similar to warfarin in safety (bleeding rates), whereas dabigatran 110 mg twice daily was noninferior to warfarin in efficacy and appeared to be safer."
marikay234
marikay234

Thank you everyone for the feedback.
Jahennes, I have heard that the FDA is soon to approve a new drug that can replace warfarin for patients with A fib. I believe that may be dabigatron. I think it is in use in Europe, not in the USA yet. It sure sounds good doesn't it. It certainly would make life a bit easier.

Mulelady, I am in awe! 30 years is a long time to live with this. I fear going into A fib someday and staying there. You give me hope that it might not happen. Ablation does seem to be a crap shoot. I may consider it even if it would just improve things. The only thing I have tried is the current drug regimen, but I think it is time to try something new. What a journey this is. I must say that I am learning to find more balance in my life because of it.
deleted_user
deleted_user

After 3 ablations, 13 cardioversions, and 15 nights in the hospital, I finally convinced the EP to write a prescription for Lorazepam so I don't lose my mind either...the stress of recurring events has sent my blood pressure through the roof by the time I get myself to the ER for a reboot (cardioversion). The addition of Lorazepam is welcome relief for what it is hard not to feel is an emergency!
deleted_user
deleted_user

I just started taking dabigatran etexilate (brand=Pradaxa). It is supposed to be much better than coumadin. I am preparing for an ablation on Mar 10 (my Aug 09 ablation for atrial flutter never took since it appears I have afib instead!). The doc told me with Pradaxa I don't have to have weekly blood draws to check INR. I'll keep you posted.
IvoryBlue
IvoryBlue

I'm also only on the aspirin as well..I really don't want to be on the Warfarin, although there are newer and much better drugs now. My episodes aren't that frequent, it's been 15 months since a true episode that lasted about 2 hours. I'm on Rythmol and Xanax at the moment coupled with the Ecotrin. I found the coated aspirin doesn't bother me at all. Good luck and I'm so glad I found this group as well. I've been pouring over the questions/topics and not feeling so all alone.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Hi Marikay, I took everyone's advise and saw an EP (electrophysiologist).... it was such good advice, tht I want to pass it along to you also. He told me that for me... a daily asprin would be sufficient, as my heart muscle is strong, and I have corrected all my bad habits of poor eating and no exercise. He felt CHADs was not necessary, as I'm on Propranolol which is keeping my heartrate down, and in my early 50s. He also told me about the new med, dabigatran etexilate (brand=Pradaxa). Said it is a good option for me. However points out that it it may be more difficult to stop bleeding because Vit K will not work(?) It's a crap shoot. Sounds like you have a lot of things going on, and you are doing your homework before making a life changing decision. Good luck, keep us posted.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Oh, can I add that the Xanax Lorazapan Rx is also a very good back up plan. Sometimes when the heart gets racing this will help calm it down, and all the stressors don't seem so bad...
ScottZZ
ScottZZ

Nattokinase is my top choice for making sure that I don't get blood clot when I get Afib. It make your plateltes slippery rather than making your blood thin. You can test your blood to make sure it does not clot fast by testing the Fibrinogen. It should be around 300 and below to be safe. Medical doctors do not know about natto. However, a drug like the natto will be in the market soon. Then, doctors will prescribe it since a drug company is behind it. The drug companies know that the Coumedin is really bad. That is the reason they are working to replace it. I can't remember which drug company will market it.

In addition, I stopped my Afib by cutting back the fish oil caps, butter, nuts, flax seed, and cheese. I am not sure if you eat any of them. If you do, stop eating it for a week or so. Then, see if your Afib stops or goes away. Drugs did not help me. They made me weak and fog head. I even could not drive when i was taking 25 mg of Atenolol.

By the way, for me, eating anything with omega 3 caused the Afib after 5 to 8 hours. The medical community do not accept what I am saying that fish oil causes the Afib. But, myself and some other people that I know are thge proof, Good luck!
marikay234
marikay234

Scott, thanks for your advice.
It certainly won't hurt to try eliminating the omega 3's. And keeping a food diary is a good idea to find triggers. I think that it is possible that while you are sensitive to those, it may be different for someone else. I know I am sensitive to wheat and it is a trigger for me, I really wouldn't have connected the fish oil though because I take it every day. Very interesting. If it works for me I'll let you know.
ScottZZ
ScottZZ

Hello again Marikay,
You are welcome. Sure, I understand that I had developed sensisivity to omega 3, butter, nuts, and cheese when I came up with my A Fib about 10 years ago. I went through very tough times for 9 months before I found the real problem. Meanwhile, the EPs and cardiologists had a lot of fun with me similar to what I hear from other people on this site. They were trying to cure the symptoms for A Fib and not the real cause for my problem. That is the reason I have decided to tell other people about my experience and how easy it was to cure it without any drugs and/or operation. But, you got to work at it.

I am sure that some people on this site have similar causes like mine for their A Fib. I just want to make sure people have an open mind when it comes to finding the real cause for their A Fib.

By the way, the method I used to find my problem was as following: I stopped all my supplements for about 2 weeks, I startefd to log what I ate and when I had my A Fib episodes. Then, after 2 weeks I started to take my supplements one at a time for 3 to 4 days before adding another one. I wanted to see if a particular supplement had any effect on my A Fib. I noticed I got a lot better after I stopped all the supplements. But, when I started to take the fish oil, hell broke loose and I got the A fib after 8 hours. Then, I knew the fish oil was the problem for me.

I started to experiment with varios foods like cheese, nuts, and food with saturated fat (like whole milk yogurt). I noticed I get A fib when I eat those types of food too, but not immediately. I could see the problem since I was writing everything down. I could see a direct pattern and relationship between fatty foods and getting the A Fib. So, I avoided those foods.

The problem with taking drugs is that they make your heart slow and as a result, they make you tired and fatigue. I could not afford that since I like to exercise and hike.

Again, I realize that the stuff I say worked for me and they might not work for somebody else. However, they worked for several other people who had A Fib that I know. So, I am sharing them with this community since I know having A Fib is not fun specially if you are active.

I hope the doctors have checked your thyroid funtion too. That can cause it too. Sometimes, the doctors miss the obvious. In general, doctors don't have any common sense, they are like robots who execute what they were told in med school for everybody, no exception. But, we as human, are all different. However, to doctors, we are all the same. So, be careful with them and what they tell you. Just food for thoughts. I wish you and all the other people on this site lots of luck in finding the real cause for your A Fib.